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Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
Gunk (IP Logged)
08 February, 2014 00:32
for 2004 - 2005, each time Pizzonia was called up, it was single lap qualifying, and his teammates were; Montoya and Webber- for someone already with a hang-up, that was horrible.

That's a good observation CB, since poor grid positions let him down.

But I went back and read some race reviews from 2004 and people were quite positive about Pizzonia then.

This from his first race in Belgium:

Antonio Pizzonia wanted to show Williams that he can race as well as test and, but for his caution in qualifying, he did a very good job. He also had one off and was penalised for his lowly grid position but when he was in the clear he was quick - his fastest lap being just a tenth lower than that of Montoya.

And from his last of four races in Italy:

Pizzonia too had done a good job after Olivier Panis's rude assault on the first lap. Jungle Boy was 19th at the end of the first lap but went through the field like a veteran. One has to say that any doubts about his ability from his unfortunate time at Jaguar last year have now been forgotten. Now Antonio needs a car in which to go racing in 2005.

Maybe it was indeed unfortunate that he didn't get a good car and, worse, he got Webber to demoralise him again in 2005.

His career has lacked any kind of focus since he left Williams.

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
crusty_bread (IP Logged)
08 February, 2014 13:31
Yes- those two races were promising, though the rest was forgettable at best. The problem was, in 2005 he was consistently outqualified by Webber before making a string of desperate mistakes in the races. In 2004, he just looked...slow aside from Belgium. For a guy who was dropped mid-year at Jaguar for the same problem, I guess the F1 paddock lost patience with him- he showed sniffs of speed- like Bruno Senna in Belgium 2011, Malaysia 2012, and Hungary 2012, but it's results that count, and Pizzonia didn't look like a man you could rely on to get them. A shame because I think the following year, the current qualifying format was introduced which would have allowed Pizzonia more time to settle on a Saturday and build his weekend, but TBH, I wont lose much sleep over it. He was no Nick Heidfeld.

I was reading how Montoya, as early as Malaysia 2003 told Pizzonia to stop worrying about Webber and focus on his own job; a pity Pizzonia was unable to follow that advice.

Anyway, for those who have managed to plough through the Frentzen review (anyone?) I would like to hear any thoughts, comments or opinions as to where on the list he deserves to go?

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
Francesc (IP Logged)
08 February, 2014 13:41
HH Frentzen is one of my favourite Williams drivers.

Thanks for that review! Enjoyed it alot.

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
Darron (IP Logged)
08 February, 2014 19:10
I always saw Frentzen as the bad man who was driving Damon's car and loved it that he appeared to be struggling - being 17 at the time probably didn't help

In hindsight if Hill was at Williams in 97, I feel the title would've been Schumacher's a repeat of Mansell and Piquet in 1986, handing it to Prost

These posts do illustrate how wrong Frank and Patrick got it with Newey and his importance to the team

Although I wonder how much longer Newey would have stayed at Williams before being tempted away although wasn't there talk of shares?

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
crusty_bread (IP Logged)
08 February, 2014 22:43
Cheers francesc, I think we are a small group. I borrowed heavily from his Christopher Hilton 1997 biography.

Nice to see the years have made you more magnanimous Darron! It's hard to like both Hill and Frentzen, but I have tried. I doubt you were alone at the time though.

So, how to place him? I'm finding it very difficult to separate Coulthard, Frentzen and Schumacher.

With Ralf, there were more days when he would qualify well, start well, and look fast. He won 6 races for Williams to Frentzen's 1, so it's a hard sell to put HHF ahead.

That said, Frentzen had some atrocious luck. Ralf enjoyed a lot of good fortune, with 3 of his 6 wins coming at someone elses expense; usually JPM's. When Ralf got his chance in 2003, he collapsed completely in the final races. Missing Monza didn't help, but still; he made 7 errors in 6 races or something.

He enjoyed a nice easy "in" at Williams: a teammate who struggled, a car that wasn't competitive, and he bullied his rookie teammates until Montoya came along, whom he fought hard and with terrible grace before coming entirely apart at the seams.

With Frentzen, the days he beat Villeneuve were not really celebrated as he found his feet just as Williams' form declined. He made fewer errors than DC and RS, he looked more capable of mounting a championship challenge, and like DC, he demonstrated far greater sportsmanship than Ralf; playing a vital role in JV's title winning race. Ralf continuously ruined JPM's races- ignoring team orders on 2 occasions in 2001, taking JPM and himself off the track in the USA, cutting the chicaine at Monza to overtake JPM illegally before pulling off line with bad grace with an engine failure which wrongfooted JPM and cost him the lead, driving into everyone in Japan when all he needed to do was pick up points for Williams' title fight...the list goes on and on and on for Ralf who really was, IMO a lot less than the sum of his parts.

Frentzen also played his part in Williams winning the 1997 Constructors Championship, whilst DC and Ralf's errors were probably the a major part of the reason why Williams didn't win the constructors title in 1995 and 2003.

He had far fewer bad days than either DC or RS, and it's a shame he had any bad days at all; which I attest to having to change to left foot braking, and having to deal with all the "circumstances" around the team. He simply didn't have bad days at Sauber or Jordan. DC went through a long spell when he was down and out, miles behind Hill, miles behind Schumacher, but spared humiliation thanks to a strung out pack. With Frentzen, there was no such luck, but he only had a handful of bad races, and he was still very unlucky not to have a serious tilt at the championship.

Whilst DC and Ralf looked outmatched by Hill and Montoya across a full championship season, (once JPM was up to speed-it was only bad fortune that prevented JPM from beating him in all 4 years, and by bigger margins) Frentzen looked genuinely capable of beating an up to speed Villeneuve across both seasons, with misfortune preventing him on both occasions.

Finally, Frentzen could overtake. He struck a nice balance between caution and aggression, same as Coulthard whilst Ralf could not. I think the a pale shadow of the man we saw at Sauber and Jordan was still a greater Williams driver than these two, as misfortune robbed us from witnessing some truly great moments.

I'm sure people will disagree, and if you do, fire away, but I think you know where I'm going with this.

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
Gunk (IP Logged)
09 February, 2014 00:04
As it later transpired, EJ revealed in 2005 that the true reason he fired Frentzen was not because of his form, but because Honda made it clear that the only way they could retain their engines for 2002 was to hire Sato

No, that is not true. That was not why he was fired mid-season.

HHF was on a downer and sometimes it didn't seem like he was even concentrating. I remember him clouting the wall in Monaco all by himself for no good reason. There's a great cut to the expression on EJ's face on the video of that race.

The fact is, as everyone knew at the time, EJ was terrified that HHF was just going to give up and pack it in, as Hill had done mid season in 1999. The experience with Hill affected EJ badly and it was one he never wanted to repeat.

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
crusty_bread (IP Logged)
09 February, 2014 02:11
Interesting, I did not know that. Well in that case EJ was being a little sneaky with his justifications when he felt compelled to comment on why Frentzen left Jordan, commeting back in 2005. HHF took court proceedings, but they had a spat after Britain over his 7th, and I think there was something odd going on personally- Frentzen offering to pay for developments etc- it looked highly emotive.

Frentzen looked fine subsequently at Prost, Arrows and Sauber, whilst Ralf and Michael both sounded surprised at the time. It seems to me Frentzen was fired because of what happened to Hill- and Eddie had noone likely to do a better job available to replace him, which is ludicrous. It was wholly irrational.

As for his job, here goes;

Q 4 / 7 (-0.7)
R 5 / DNF
destroyed Trulli. WTF

Q 9 / 5 (+0.4)
R 4 / 8
too good for Trulli in the wet WTF

Q 8 / 7 (+0.003)
R DNF / 5 (Electrics) good effort. unlucky

San Marino
Q 9 / 5 (+0.6)
R 6 / 5 Decent recovery.

Q 8 /6 (+0.1)
R DNF / 4 (racing accident with de la rosa. came from a long way back, but he was alongside by the time DLR decided to turn in, so you could argue it was a bit dopey from DLR)

Q 11 / 5 (+0.6)
Trulli passed a red light in the pitlane, Frentzen's launch control stranded him on the grid- what can you do? first time he had qualified out of the top 10 all year- 11th?

Q 14 / 8 (+0.4)
R DNF / DNF (accident)
Ok- mediocre speed, poor error. Bang on the head didn't help matters

"Recovering"- sounds a bit fishy if you ask me, like there were distractions going on.

Q 8 / 7 (+0.3)
R DNF / DNF (spin)
Very odd the way he lost it on the exit of the hairpin, but decent speed- nothing "Hill" esque.

Q 7 / 5 (+0.5)
R 8 / 5

Q 5 / 4 (+0.3)
R 7 / DNF

So to qualify 5th and finish 7th in a Jordan battling like this...

video: [url]


really aught not be a red card offence. He was consistent top 10 material all year, and much closer to Trulli in the races than in qualifying. It was a mediocre season by his standards it's true, but his standards were very high. If every driver got sacked for throwing in half a mediocre year, then Alonso would have been fired mid way through 2004.

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
crusty_bread (IP Logged)
09 February, 2014 10:24
I think another interesting aspect in this is whether a driver has tasted real success or not.

For Hill, Villeneuve, Jones, Hakkinen, Andretti, Piquet, there was a notable drop in performance as they had already won the championship and they found it harder to care when no such opportunity presented itself. They had lost their hunger.

The Villeneuve we saw at Sauber was a pale shadow of the man we saw at Williams, whilst Frentzen matched more favourably vs Heidfeld for example (2003 Sauber,2006 Sauber) because he still had something to prove.

Perhaps this explains how Barrichello was able to adapt and stay "evergreen" throughout his career? Clearly, Trulli was getting to Frentzen in 2001, but it's a leap to assume it represented a fundamental desire to give up and retire; he didn't.

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
mayhemfunkster (IP Logged)
19 February, 2014 11:43
N.B This post is liable to have some gobbledegook in the body, due to a nightmare source file corruption and subsequent recovery and painstaking editing to get it back. I've really tried to get it as it was...

So: Is that an out of control 900bhp Williams? Well, no actually because it is being expertly wrangled by...

Juan-Pablo Montoya


Best WDC Finish for Williams: 3rd (x2)
Total number of races entered for Williams: 68 (P5)
Total points: 221 (P4)
Best result for Williams: 1 (x4)
Debut: 2001 Australian GP
Last Race: 2004 Brazillian GP
Head to head qualifying vs team-mate:
2001 Montoya 6 - 11 Ralf Schumacher
2002 Montoya 9 - 8 Ralf Schumacher
2003 Montoya 7 - 8 Ralf Schumacher
2004 Montoya 8 - 4 Ralf Schumacher

Head to head points vs team-mates:
2001 Montoya 31- 49 Ralf Schumacher
2002 Montoya 50 - 42 Ralf Schumacher
2003 Montoya 74 - 58 Ralf Schumacher
2004 Montoya 39 - 24 Ralf Schumacher

Nature of Arrival

Montoya has great taste in both F1 teams and spouses...

From early in his career, Juan Pablo Montoya was that rare mixture of a Latin-temperament driver who despite oodles of aggression, could still deliver results. To this end, Montoya triumphed in a close battle with a young Nick Heidfeld to become 1998 Formula 3000 champion, wowing fans with his qualifying speed ? which would later become a feature of his Williams career. He had been on Williams' radar long before then however, having come out on top of a Williams test shootout among 3 drivers in 1997. Montoya and Max Wilson were given test drives with the team for 1998. Despite the obvious distraction, Juan only missed the '97 F3000 championship by 1.5 points in his debut year. Even in F3000, he was an irresistible force. F1, and (fortunately) Williams, saw him coming...


Following his F3000 triumph, and the arrival of Alex Zanardi for the start of a new chapter of success in F1 (!), the best seat in CART was going begging, and Chip Ganassi had the good sense to give Montoya a job. He simply took over from where Zanardi left off, being well experienced in what was an overpowered spec racing car, wowing fans with his aggression and racecraft. He streaked to the championship, making several CART rivals (great drivers themselves) seem slow and clumsy. His gung-ho fashion made him few friends, but nobody could doubt his speed.


2000 was set to be a less successful year, with Ganassi moving to the unfavoured Toyota engine (it spent most of the mid 90s blowing up and causing yellows ? just ask Dan Gurney), but Montoya still delivered 3 wins and finished 9th in the championship standings. The season was largely saved by an impressive performance in the Indy 500. Tensions were beginning to thaw following the split of Indycar into CART and the IRL, and CART teams were allowed to compete at the Brickyard for the first time since 1996...if they bought IRL cars specifically for the event. Ganassi did this, and Montoya dominated the event (against IRL regulars and fellow top CART imposters) to score a masterful victory.


Williams used this victory weekend to announce Juan-Pablo's return to the fold. He was to be a Williams-BMW driver for 2001, driving alongside the driver most of us love to hate - Ralf Schumacher. Given the fact that Ralf himself was often an equally aggressive and cocksure driver, the proposition of two supermen in the same phone box brought Frank Williams to note:

"I don't suppose that they are going to get along marvellously"

He was right.


Williams 2001-2004 including The Cars

Montoya's time with Williams coincided with the BMW era in full flow, following the first year in 2000 and the messy breakup that was 2005. During this period, as described in earlier reviews, Williams was an increasingly unhappy ship. Tensions between Frank, Patrick and the BMW management comprising of Dr. Mario Thiessen and Gerhard Berger grew, apparently due to Thiessen's zeal to become a team principal. This perhaps explains why they were so happy to buy Sauber and spend many hundreds of Millions to achieve that sole Victory at Montreal in 2008... As I have written previously, even though Frank had torn up the original contract and started afresh with Thiessen and Berger, and the fact the team fought for the championship in 2003 (stymied only by the political maneuvering over the wider Michelin front tyre), this was still not to prove enough.


After a debut season in 2000 that was promising more than successful, The FW23 was a far more competitive proposition. The car featured the potent if unreliable BMW P80 V10, which was to be the defining feature of the car. The team had moved to Michelin tyres for 2001, so stood to benefit from the days Michelin did a better job than previous supplier Bridgestone. The car was a reasonable performer, but it proved that Aero was lacking on high downforce tracks. On circuits with reasonable straights, this could be overcome by the engine, and the team was well equipped for the fast circuits.


4 poles, 4 wins and 8 fastest laps proved that BMW.WilliamsF1 was bearing fruit, this being the most successful car produced by Williams since 1997. There was just one problem. McLaren and in particular Ferrari, were ahead. The aim and stress resulting from trying to beat ?The Schumacher Era? caused the split, and almost put an end to Williams completely. But that was still some years away...

2002 brought the Williams-BMW FW24, a logical development of FW23. BMW held up their end of the bargain with a particularly potent V10 compared to rivals. However the Williams chassis was inferior to McLaren and Ferrari's offerings. Ralf Schumacher took the FW23's only victory in Sepang, and Montoya's run of 5 consecutive mid-season poles was impressive, but there was little else to toast other than Juan-Pablo's stonking pole at Monza, which stood as the fastest ever qualifying lap at an average of 161.449mph, eclipsing the efforts of Keke Rosberg at Silverstone 1985 of 160.9mph in FW10.


The biggest problem of FW24 was that the inefficiencies on the chassis combined with lashings of horsepower led to increased tyre wear. During a tyre war where compounds were only ever going to get more edgy, this was not a great problem to have. Indeed it was during this time that BMW started to make it's annoyance with Williams more clear, both publicly and privately. The team was seen to be underperforming, as Ferrari waltzed to the Championship in 2002. Of course, McLaren were barely any better off ? but that didn't matter. Indeed the frustration if not being able to catch Ferrari were mirrored at Woking, where Newey was panicked into overstretching the design of the 2003 MP4/18, a car that never raced. The pressure brought on the garagistas by Scuderia was hard to handle.

While McLaren geeked themselves into oblivion with MP4/18, Williams created the surprisingly fleet FW25 for 2003. The car was a marked improvement, but suffered from inherent understeer. This caused the team headaches at the start of the year in defining a development path for the suspension.


The problem was largely solved by Michelin bringing a wider front tyre in time for Monaco 2003, a race Montoya won along with the German GP. With two wins also for Schumacher, the improvement was clear. Williams mid-season dominance upset Ferrari however who moved politically to upset the apple cart and force Michelin to revert to the narrow tyre. This upset Montoya's momentum just enough to allow Schumacher to sneak the championship.


Much was expected of FW26, given Williams' form in 2003, but the Walrus-nosed beast, the last overseen by Patrick Head, again flattered to deceive against a Ferrari now back on form. Indeed, results were sparse. Both BAR and Renault had made strides, and Williams fell into the upper-midfield pack.


A redesign of the nose for Hungary improved things, but the team would have to rely on a single win for the departing Montoya at the very last round in Brazil as it's highlight of the year. BMW were not impressed...

The Races

2001 Australian GP
The phrase "start as you mean to go on" springs to mind.
JPM's first 2 corners of competitive racing in F1 reads thus; Having qualified 1 second behind Ralf, he leaped up from 11th on the grid, charged into the first corner to mix it with the big boys, missed his braking point, rallycrossed over the grass, rejoined having lost few positions by forcing his way back into the pack, before being hit from behind under braking for turn 3, forcing him to run Irvine off the track and into the gravel. Got your attention yet? Not a match for Ralf yet, he scrapped his way into the points before suffering an engine failure. It wasn't the greatest of debuts, but he looked set to make a big impression.

2001 Malaysian GP
6th on the grid, Montoya was still 7 tenths down on Ralf in qualifying. An electrical glitch on the line left him running back to the pits to grab the spare car. Radioing first after 3 laps to ask for wets in a downpour, Ralf was given priority and Montoya was asked to stay out- which he did- ending his race in the gravel. Very unlucky.

2001 Brazillian GP
The opening 2 races were just an appetiser before the main course. Qualifying 4th, 1 tenth down on Ralf, Montoya got a great start to go 2nd as Hakkinen stalled on the line. On the restart, Montoya dived from a long way behind to get alongside Michael before bullying the most aggressive driver in F1 onto the grass on the exit of turn 1 to take the lead in the most exhilarating fashion possible. An instant hero.


As Ralf was wiped out whilst buried in the pack, Montoya marched on with a 1 stop strategy, building an incredible 30 second lead by lap 30. This was the first time Williams looked capable of challenging for victory after over 3 years in the wilderness, and not only were they challenging for the win, but Montoya was totally dominating in only his 3rd race in F1. What made it all the sweeter was to have taken the lead in such style, and to have done so to the best driver in the world, and one who had hounded Williams drivers for years. This was manna from heaven for starving Williams fans

Sadly, it was not to last- lapping Verstappen, Jos tucked back in behind JPM, picked up a tow, and was sucked into the back of the Williams in the braking zone- wiping JPM out and making it 2 DNF's for Williams, and 3 retirements from 3 for JPM in 2001.


The rest of the race seemed a huge anti-climax, despite the drama. JPM thoroughly deserved that win, but the consolation prize was winning himself legions of passionate F1 fans- myself amongst them. It was a love affair that would last 4 years at Williams and even carry over to the dark side of McLaren?





2001 San Marino GP
It was Ralf's turn to shine at a track he excelled. He totally dominated to win his and BMW's first victory- completely muscling in on Montoya's glory. JPM struggled on the kerbs, qualifying 8 tenths down in 6th. Overtaking Panis and Trulli to break the Trulli train, Montoya looked set for decent points, once again with plenty of spirit, before suffering a gearbox failure to make it 4 retirements from 4. A slightly off colour performance as he was yet to get fully up to speed, but bonus style points.



you can really see how Montoya had yet to get fully to grips with an F1 car, looking raw and ragged, driving on reactions.

2001 Spanish GP
6 tenths down on Ralf, starting P12, a brilliant start saw him slot between both Saubers and pass Villeneuve by turn 1- leaping up to 6th. Ralf spinning off, Montoya stayed the course to inherit a very fortuitous 2nd place after Rubens retired from 3rd and Hakkinen blew up on the final lap, but it was his first podium in F1 and his first GP finish, even if it was not a convincing weekend from the Columbian.


2001 Austrian GP
Montoya was at his classic best again here. Qualifying 2nd, 1 tenth ahead of Ralf, Montoya took the lead after a poor start from MS. Montoya held Ralf to the outside of turn one before suffering from major tyre graining. With Ralf out due to a brake failure, Schumacher, Barrichello, Verstappen, Coulthard and Raikkonen all lined up behind him as he stoically clung onto the lead. Quite how Montoya held on for as long as he did with so many cars swarming over his gearbox I will never know, but it was classic racing and a great example of why many of us love this sport as Montoya demonstrated a much underestimated aspect of racing- the art of defence. Michael eventually tried a move to which Montoya responded by braking deep into turn 2- too deep- so deep in fact he went into the gravel trap- but making absolutely certain he took Michael with him, stuck on the outside with nowhere to go. Just like Gilles Villeneuve- it wasn't the mistakes you noticed- it was the manner in which they were made, not through cracking under pressure, but by refusing to admit defeat by attempting the impossible in a hopeless position. It was the only way he could have possibly prevented Michael from passing him.


Some heroic duelling under pressure. This guy even made a lack of overtaking look exciting.


After pitting, Montoya suffered a hydraulic failure. With hindsight, this was a flawed effort, but boy did it make for exhilarating viewing!

2001 Monaco GP
A miserable weekend, 8 tenths down on Ralf in 7th, before trashing it in the wall on lap 3. Oh dear!


2001 Canadian GP
P10 on the grid, 8 tenths down on Ralf again, his teammate would go on to dominate the race as Montoya trashed the car in the wall on lap 19 to make it 7 retirements from 8, though admittedly, only two of those retirements were entirely his fault. Worse though, aside from Austria and Brazil, Ralf was showing him up regularly, and by some worrying margins. JPM needed to up his game.


As if to underline the pressure he was under, this weekend featured an almightily spat between Jacques and Juan Pablo following this incident in practice?


In the driver briefing, Montoya accused Villeneuve of brake testing him, telling Jacques "do that again and I'll put you in the f*****g wall", to which Jacques replied "I'll put you in the f*****g trees" after the row escalated, Villeneuve got Montoya by the throat before Dickie Stanford stepped in to separate them, as Charlie Whiting threatened them with race bans should they continue their row into the race. I wonder how much this had to do with the pressure Ralf was putting him under?

2001 European GP
A much better race, Montoya qualified 3 tenths down on Ralf in 3rd, before benefiting from Ralf's drive through penalty to inherit a strong 2nd place, 4 seconds behind Michael. A top class effort but not good enough to challenge for the win on a day when Ralf was.


2001 French GP
This was where Ralf showed his true colours. Qualifying 6 tenths clear of Montoya to snatch pole on the softer tyres, a poor second stint on a bad set of tyres left him in 2nd and exposed to Montoya, who was beginning to mount a challenge to MS on harder tyres and on a better pit strategy. For lap after lap Montoya sat behind Ralf, costing him up to 12 seconds as the team radioed Ralf to pull over and Ralf suffered from sustained radio failure? Eventually, the team pitted Ralf in, and Montoya, left with a 5 second lead after MS's pitstop with another pitstop still to go, suffered an engine failure, but the day had been his over Ralf despite Ralf having dominated in qualifying. Great race and perhaps, the turning point in the balance of power between Ralf and Montoya as a sea change was starting to take place at Williams, with Ralf respiring to desperate measures to maintain his dominance as the tide came in.

2001 British GP
P8, half a tenth clear of Ralf, Montoya got a great start, leaping to 5th before Trulli and Coulthard eliminated each other in front. With most of the frontrunners on 1 stop strategies, Montoya on a 2 hunted down and dispatched Michael for 2nd into Copse with consummate ease.


After his pitstop, he caught the one stopping Ralf who despite being shown a "switch" board, developed sudden myopia, proving that he was both deaf and blind. An engine failure resolved the situation as Montoya ended up 4th having been the better driver on the day. This rookie was proving to be a handful when he hooked it up.

2001 German GP


Scoring his first pole position by 2 hundredths, Montoya went on to dominate the German GP, leading from Pole and pulling away from Ralf, building up an 8 second cushion as the two left the rest of the field for dead before a bad pitstop cost him time, and the lengthy stationary time perhaps affected his engine- which blew up shortly after. Ralf implied after the race that he had been pacing himself deliberately for this very reason, but Patrick Head explained after the race that Juan-Pablo had always been driving within the limits of the engine. The simple fact was, Ralf had been beaten up until that point, and he didn't like it. A second career victory for Montoya gone up in smoke as Ralf went 26pts clear in the drivers championship. A great drive, sickeningly unlucky.


2001 Hungarian GP
Struggling on technical tracks, Montoya qualified 8 tenths down on Ralf and finished 8th, Ralf 4th. A bad weekend as Williams' struggled with a low downforce car. Perhaps this was simply a very good drive by Ralf?

2001 Belgian GP
Back on it, on a drying track Montoya switched to slicks along with Ralf, and went 9 tenths faster than his teammate to claim a brilliant Pole on a treacherous track in remarkably similar fashion to Hulkenberg's Pole in Brazil 2010.


In the race, Montoya undid all his good work by stalling on the grid. With Ralf stuck on the jacks, both Williams started at the back, but that didn't stop Montoya from pulling a passing move on his best buddy, knocking a few more Euros off his market value.


Sadly, after 5 laps, his engine blew once again. A weekend of enormous promise unfulfilled.


2001 Italian GP
Going 6 tenths faster than Ralf to claim Pole, Montoya led from the start, with both Ferrari's stacked behind him and Ralf falling away rapidly in 4th. He was passed by Rubens on the exit of the second chicane on lap 8 who went on to build a lead of several seconds. Montoya then fended off MS before both Ferrari's pitted on 2 stop strategies, in an attempt to pressure the BMW engine into failing. Montoya was left with a dominant lead and for once, his engine held up. Montoya won by 5 seconds from Rubens and 17 clear of Ralf to claim his career maiden victory in his rookie season and the first ever F1 victory for a Columbian. A Great Drive, Utterly Supreme over his teammate and long overdue. After the race, someone in the Williams motorhome drew a picture of 3 stickmen on the podium, JPM and RB smiling, RS scowling. The funny thing was, it was unerringly accurate. Ralf was starting to do an awful lot of it in recent times.






2001 USA GP
3 tenths down on Ralf in 3rd, Montoya surged up to 2nd at the start, and when his Michelin tyres kicked in, he took Schumacher for the lead (the 3rd time he had passed Michael in 2001) before marching off into the distance, looking set for his second victory in a row. that is, until his engine failed. It was Brazil and Germany all over again. Another GREAT drive versus the generally dominant Ferraris. It was a surreal situation to see Ralf miles ahead in the drivers championship, yet oddly, under the cosh.


2001 Japanese GP
Underlining his superiority in the races, Montoya outqualified Ralf by 1 tenth in his first drive at Suzuka. With Ralf having raced in Japan prior to F1, this was deeply troubling for him. In the race, Montoya gave chase to the dominant Ferrari of Michael, finishing 3 seconds down in 2nd whilst Ralf trailed home in 6th, 34 seconds back. Another Great weekend. The second half of 2001 had been all about JPM..

2001 Summary


A season of two halves, Montoya showed great flashes of speed in Brazil and Austria, and demonstrated superb self-confidence straight out of the box. This was not a guy looking to avoid mistakes and be gradually accepted by his peers. This was a guy looking to shake up the establishment- and it worked. In fact, it worked so well, it would prove to work against him, but more on that later. When Frank was asked what the difference was between Button and Montoya, Frank replied:

"Last year, Jenson would sit in the corner and listen, waiting for us to tell him what to do. It was all very new to him and he needed to build up his confidence. Juan-Pablo, I can assure you, came here with no self doubts whatsoever"

By the French GP, after a number of "rookie-races" where he looked slow and error prone, Montoya started to gain the edge consistently over RS, leaving Ralf having to resort to bad sporting tactics, media barbs, and general scowling as Montoya inexorably wrested the initiative away from him. Considering the talent Ralf Schumacher possessed, and considering this was Juan Pablo Montoya's rookie season, this was a great feat. This season alone contained more great moments than the entirety of any other Williams driver's career yet reviewed. The spirit, passion, and sheer ability he put on display was thrilling to behold, and although he ended the season 18pts behind Ralf in the table and only really nip-and-tuck with Ralf in qualifying at best, Montoya could well have beaten Ralf in the races had both enjoyed the same luck, having been robbed of 3 clear cut victories due to a clumsy Verstappen and two Engine failures, and having put in a succession of stand-out drives. No one was under any illusions- JPM's stock was higher than Ralf's by the end of the season, and the future looked very bright indeed.



2002 Australian GP
Outqualified by Ralf by 1 second, there were days when you had to just hand it to Ralf- a bit like Jones on the days Reutemann was inspired- usually in qualifying. RS launched his car into orbit at the start and the carnage left JPM in 3rd. He then ran wide into turn 3 on cold tyres on the restart, allowing MS ahead before Trulli binned it in front, which induced a second safety car. On this restart Coulthard in the lead slid wide exiting the final turn, and that delayed MS, and allowed Montoya to line up and pass MS for the lead into the first turn. Brilliant. A good dice ensued, but ultimately MS was faster, and MS reposed Montoya on the exit of the first chicane a few laps later, leaving Montoya to finish a fighting 2nd. Great performance, albeit not perfect, but I guess with Juan you have to tolerate the odd error when the benefits are so great.


2002 Malaysian GP
P2, 6 tenths clear of Ralf, Michael chopped Montoya brutally at the start before JPM outdragged him down the outside into turn 1. Squeezing MS, Montoya left him a car's width of track, and a car's width of Kerb to use, but going too hot for the corner, MS understeered wide into the side of Montoya, losing his wing in the process and forcing Montoya wide, dropping JPM to 11th.


Incensed, Montoya waved angrily at MS until being informed, outrageously, that he had been awarded a drive through penalty for "causing an avoidable collision". I have never been so angry; It was racing! If Michael couldn't race hard and clean in wheel to wheel scenarios that was his fault. The steward of the event was the same one who had allowed MS to keep his victory in the 1998 British GP when he avoided a penalty by driving through the pitlane to win. Nazir Hoosein had lost his stewarding licence for a year after that indiscretion but now he was back, and doing his utmost to serve MS's interests once again. An absolute disgrace, and worse still, it gave Ferrari ammunition to throw at JPM in later races, now that he had been labelled a troublemaker, which would potentially cost him a World Championship.

Somehow, Montoya recovered from both the incident, and a drive through penalty to charge up through the field at an incredible turn of pace. Passing Button for 3rd, inheriting 2nd from Rubens, Montoya finished 2nd behind Ralf in what was a Williams 1 / 2, but he had been robbed of a victory as Ralf was no match for Montoya in terms of speed here. It was a bitter sweet day.


A great drive from Montoya, cruelly robbed once again, even Schuamcher admitted the penalty had been "overly harsh" after the race. Coming from him, it must have been bad!



2002 Brazillian GP
The MS/JPM duel continued?Pole position, 2 tenths clear of Ralf in 3rd, Montoya looked set to win the race he had been cruelly denied victory at the previous year. Squeezing MS at the start, the two ran side by side before MS sneaked ahead through the Senna S and Montoya, getting a great tow, made a move down the inside of the ace straight to which MS defended too slow- too late- forcing a collision. Montoya lost his front wing, MS went on to win- once again a ridiculously unfair situation as IMO, it was unsafe defending, and deserved a penalty. Montoya pitted and recovered to 5th. ANOTHER win gone, a great performance as ever, and not really sure what else he was supposed to do. Montoya never did win in 2002, and these two races went some way to explaining why as MS was unable to handle Montoya in racing situations and forced collisions in his desperation to stay ahead rather than racing cleanly. You could say 2001 Austria was the precursor to this, but on that occasion, Montoya did not make contact with MS, which for me is a crucial difference. A new kid was in town, he was rattling Schumacher, and in turn, Ferrari were rattling the FIA.


2002 San Marino GP
After the drama of the first three races, this event was a calmer affair, JPM was 2 tenths down on Ralf in qualifying (a marked improvement on 2001), and Ralf took the fight to the all-new dominant Ferraris in the race, whereas Montoya finished 4th, 26 seconds back. A reasonable race, but Ralf was excellent here, and Williams would have their work cut out staying with the Ferraris for the rest of the year as they struggled to get the Michelin tyres performing consistently across a full stint.

2002 Spanish GP

1 tenth behind Ralf in 4th, RS was running in 2nd before making an error, running wide into the gravel and ruining his race for the second year in a row. Montoya inherited the place to finish a decent 2nd, for a second year in a row but with Ralf and Rubens out, it was par for the course, and nothing special on a day Ralf had the edge for the second race in succession. He also lost a few second in this incident?



2002 Austrian GP
P4, A whopping 7 tenths down on Ralf, Williams ran 3/4 before a safety car bunched the field up, and Ralf pitted after the restart, allowing Montoya, on a longer 1 stop strategy to Ralf, to put in some fast laps on low fuel and jump him. JPM finished 1 second clear on a day Ralf was probably slightly faster- again. Still, a good drive to 3rd be best of the rest again.


2002 Monaco GP
a brilliant pole, the first non-Ferrari to be there in 2002, 6 tenths clear of Ralf, Montoya got a slow start to drop behind Coulthard before suffering an engine failure. A shame, as he looked to be making the most of the package on a day he was clearly better than Ralf. A very good weekend.



2002 Canadian GP


Another Pole, 4 tenths faster than Ralf, Montoya led from the start before overshooting the last chicane, allowing Rubens through into the lead. Rubens' strategy was compromised by the safety car, as Montoya dashed into the pits on a 2 stopper before sneaking ahead of the squabbling Raikkonen and Ralf once the race got going again. Set for 2nd, no match for the Ferrari of MS, Montoya's engine failed- again- another great weekend ruined. Ralf pulled level in the standings.



2002 European GP
Pole at BMW's home race, a whisker clear of Ralf, RS got the better start to lead around the outside of turn 1. Sadly, both were picked off by the Ferraris as they fell into the clutches of the McLarens. Defending, Montoya clipped the inside kerb of turn 1 and spun into Coulthard, eliminating both of them. A good qualifying, a poor race, no match for Ralf and a critical error, which woudn't have helped his bad boy reputation, even though the contact was not deliberate.




2002 British GP
Pole again- his 4th in a row, 3 tenths on Ralf, Montoya led until it started to rain, where the Ferrari's superior wet weather Bridgestones utterly humiliated the rest. With Rubens stalling on the line and an extra stop allowed Montoya the opportunity to overtake Rubens- in itself a pretty heroic feat on Michelins in the full wet conditions, before being repassed and finishing 3rd, a country mile ahead of Ralf. A very good drive indeed, nothing more he could have done.



2002 French GP
His 5th Pole in succession, 4 tenths clear of Ralf, this was excellent stuff.
In the race, Montoya somehow hung on to the lead until the first stops, sorely pressed by the much faster MS and KR. It was great battling qualities, but Williams simply weren't fast enough and Montoya slipped to 4th, just ahead of Ralf by the line. What stands out here is that Montoya, despite an inferior package, was the Williams driver able to make a race of it with the Ferraris, which was a mark of greatness in my book: Villeneuve / Jarama-esque.



2002 German GP
P4, 6 tenths down on Ralf at the truncated Hockenheimring, Ralf for once, made a fight of it with Michael for the win as Montoya was passed by Kimi into the hairpin, limiting his afternoon. He eventually overcame the Finn with more classic racing, to finish 2nd as Ralf suffered an air pressure failure dropping him behind JPM, but it's fair to say, that although Montoya was having a strong season, Ralf was regularly capable out outpacing him. JPM had the edge, but only on average across several races, and even then, it was only by a fine margin, with JPM getting top marks for style and fight, but not much more in terms of hard results, for all his early season misfortunes.


2002 Hungarian GP
P4, 9 tenths down on Ralf, A poor start saw JPM slip to 7th before Montoya was brilliantly passed by Raikkonen, leaving him on the dirty outside line and running off track- ruining an already inauspicious afternoon to leave him 11th. Poor weekend, Ralf was not especially lucky to be tying on points, having enjoyed a slightly stronger midseason, although Montoya had probably suffered a touch more misfortune across the season so far.


2002 Belgian GP
P5 3 tenths slower than Ralf, the Ferraris utterly dominated this race, with Montoya passing Ralf through La Source at the start, and pouncing on Raikkonen after KR had a slide at Les Fagnes to land the best possible finish in 3rd, 38s clear of Ralf in 5th who'd suffered a minor spin. Nice to get one back on KR and a very good drive against some quality rivals. Montoya was very good at this track.


2002 Italian GP
Another Pole, -0.2 ahead of Ralf, and the fastest lap ever recorded in an F1 car, JPM got a poor start, allowing Ralf to challenge for the lead from 3rd on the grid, down the outside into turn 1. Clearly behind, Ralf tried muscling it around the outside before cutting the chicane in turn 2 to sneak the lead. Not ceding the place, Montoya was allegedly already "fuming" before Ralf developed an Engine problem, to which he still defended from JPM into Parabolica before letting JPM through on the exit, which delayed JPM sufficiently to allow Rubens to overtake him down the main straight and take the lead off him. JPM was livid.
Without the race pace, JPM was on for 3rd after being overtaken by Michael before suffering from chassis damage on the kerbs, which led to retirement. A miserable race for Williams, a furious Montoya, it would have been a very strong weekend for him but for his teammate sabotaging his race.


2002 USA GP
P4, -0.1 ahead of Ralf, RS passed Montoya off the line before, at the end of the first lap, Montoya slipstreamed Ralf and was ahead, on the outside entering the braking zone. Ralf was given plenty of room, but steamed up, he outbraked himself, hit the kerb, and spun into the back of Montoya, losing his rear wing and putting Montoya off the track. As a team-player goes, Ralf was the worst, often doing more to harm the team effort overall than to aid it. Montoya would probably have recovered to 3rd but for misreading his pit board, pitting 10 laps too early, losing him time in the pits, and limiting him to 4th. A strong weekend, an odd error, Montoya dismissed the collision as a racing accident.


2002 Japan GP
Entering the final race of the season 5pts clear of Ralf in 3rd, Montoya qualified 6th, a fraction behind Ralf in 5th. Ralf got up to 4th and inherited 3rd after Coulthard suffered an engine failure. Montoya putting inconsistent laps in 5th looked like he wasn't really trying as RS's engine failed him, allowing Montoya up to 4th.


2002 Season Summary
Montoya just edged Ralf out across the season to claim 3rd in the drivers championship, the best of the rest behind the dominant Ferraris. His string of Poles and his top quality racing skills caught the eye more than Ralf who seemed to catch the eye only when he was petulantly trying to screw over Montoya, but in fairness to him, Ralf put in more than a few strong drives himself, and seemed to be digging pretty deep to beat Montoya, the first non-rookie Ralf had needed to deal with at Williams. There really was very little in it between the two in terms of overall average performance across the season in the races. Montoya was cruelly robbed of victories in Brazil and Malaysia, and looked great in France, Britain, Australia, and Belgium. He made fewer errors than 2001, and he firmly established himself as the team talisman, though not quite the outright team leader. This was the first time anyone had outscored Ralf at Williams across a full season, and I think at this stage in Ralf's career, that was a great effort for Juan Pablo Montoya. However, with Ferrari's superior race pace leaving Montoya going backwards rather than forwards in the races, Montoya's greatness was harder to spot at times on a Sunday in 2002 and there were still plenty of days when he looked eclipsed with no answers for Ralf; something worth noting when comparing Montoya with the likes of Jones, Rosberg and Mansell.

...And with that we reach the Sportnetwork message limit. See part two below...right now!

mayhemlurker ;-)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 28/02/2014 22:27 by mayhemfunkster.

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
mayhemfunkster (IP Logged)
19 February, 2014 11:45

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
j-s (IP Logged)
19 February, 2014 19:02
Masterfully done, MHF. I was waiting for the JPM post and you certainly delivered. Many thanks for the time and effort in putting this together. Great stuff.

Regarding JPM. He's the last driver I became veritably obsessed with. Man, I had him up in a pedestal. He was an animal on the track. Out of sheer appreciation I rank him 1st of the drivers presented thus far.

Connie could top other lists as well. ahem.

Love the quotes about his relationship with SFW.

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
CarlessPetrol (IP Logged)
19 February, 2014 19:42
Thank you all for your efforts on bringing these times back to me to enjoy again. It brightens up my day. Montoya is certainly top on my list now he has been reviewed. I remember his stunning speed in F3, and that race in Enna (F3000) when he spent most of the time going backwards, and won by a country mile.

I also recall his Indy Car title. He was amazing, but he was also fortunate, for Greg Moore got killed in the last race, and Dario and he were close on points if I recall.

My favourite indy car moment was his last corner move on Michael Andretti.

That was why I found him amazing. He overtook where others rarely did, and he never was intimidated. When he told Ron he was going to Nascar, that was brilliant.

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
mayhemfunkster (IP Logged)
19 February, 2014 20:33
Of course the masterful analysis is all Crusty. May have neglected to mention That!

mayhemlurker ;-)

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
crusty_bread (IP Logged)
19 February, 2014 22:43
I have a feeling Montoya will be sitting on top for quite a while winking smiley It was an absolute pleasure to research, and your summary in particular mf was quite brilliant.

smileys with beer

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
andy si (IP Logged)
20 February, 2014 00:11
He is one driver of all who drove for Williams... well, whatever I say will not be good enough... but he should have never left this team. My feelings are Williams was his home in F1 and the racing world lost a whole lot of brilliant action and excitement on a count of him leaving Williams and F1 in general.

He was the one man who had balls to take on the dominant brat of F1 and drive circles around him... a wasted talent! Take it however you wish.

He was a tough, but honest racer and a person. FIA bulshit killed his F1 career. He deserved more from this sport!

I find so many parallels between him and Williams team... this is why he ranks number one Williams driver despite only managing 4 wins. Had he had a reliable engine and less unfair obstacles thrown at him, he would have been a double WC with Williams.

My five cents!

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
marty88 (IP Logged)
20 February, 2014 10:01
great job crusty and mayhem (Sm42)

Montoya easily goes top of my list.

He is my all time favourite Williams driver. He is the reason I support Williams.

when I started watching f1 in 2001 he was the driver I was drawn to because of his personatlity and style.

the only time I wanted a McLaren to win was when Montoya was there.

great loss to f1- but imo better to leave a season too soon than a season too late.

hope he does well in indycars this year

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
crusty_bread (IP Logged)
27 February, 2014 19:30
the Carlos Reutemann review can now be found on The Greatest Williams Drivers Part 2 thread.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 28/02/2014 15:52 by crusty_bread.

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
crusty_bread (IP Logged)
27 February, 2014 19:34
cut and moved to the next thread...

The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers Part 2

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 28/02/2014 15:50 by crusty_bread.

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
mayhemfunkster (IP Logged)
28 February, 2014 12:51
Another great effort Crusty, particularly with the paucity of strong info on some of the older drivers! thumbs down

mayhemlurker ;-)

Re: The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers
williams4284 (IP Logged)
01 March, 2014 19:08
Montoya will always be my favourite driver too, he was extremely unlucky to start the 2003 on a bad note, otherwise he would have been champion that year.

Still remembering the brazil 2001 race, with that pass on Micheal, and then for a stupid verstapen to clip him at the back.

Good feeling when remembering Monza 2001 smiling smiley

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